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Art in Plain Sight: Bettendorf Learning Campus PDF Print E-mail
Art - Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Wednesday, 29 December 2010 10:46

Matt Kargol, ‘Passages.’ Photo by Bruce Walters.

Passages is a grouping of four rectangular columns prominently placed between the Family Museum and the Bettendorf Public Library on Learning Campus Drive. The column closest to the library lies flat on the ground. In sequence, the other three stand angled at 45 degrees, 67 degrees, and finally fully vertical. The effect of these 18-foot-tall, stainless-steel columns rising in a stop-motion progression is impressive.

Yet what ultimately catches one’s attention is the brightly painted sphere perched precariously at the top of the standing column. An area the size of the sphere has been scooped out of the other columns. These smooth inverse curves are painted in the same bright colors as the sphere – yellow, red, and green – and visually soften the angular metal impact of the sculptural group. They feel like a finger’s indent in a stick of butter. The positioning of these indents creates an illusion of an upward trajectory or path that the sphere has taken.

 
Art in Plain Sight: Sol LeWitt Works PDF Print E-mail
Art - Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Wednesday, 01 December 2010 08:58

(Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series on the history of public art in the Quad Cities.)

Sol LeWitt, ‘Tower.’ Photo by Bruce Walters.In 1984, a site-specific sculpture by the internationally renowned artist Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) was installed near the south entrance of the RiverCenter on Third Street in Davenport. Titled simply Tower, this sculpture was made of four 21-foot-tall slabs of concrete bolted to a framework of steel I-beams. These slabs, made of crushed marble and silica, were cast using more than a half-mile of Styrofoam strips.

Additional works by LeWitt, Wall Drawing #405 and Two Wall Drawings, were also installed in the center’s atrium at this time. Longtime LeWitt assistant Anthony Sansotta worked with area art students to make these 18-foot-long drawings. In all, roughly 30 Quad Citians helped with the installations – including art students, plasterers, carpenters, painters, cement finishers, laborers, iron workers, crane operators, truck drivers, and electricians.

Don’t look for these works at the RiverCenter, however. Tower was moved to the Figge Art Museum’s plaza in October 2004. The original wall drawings were removed from the RiverCenter, and Wall Drawing #405 was redrawn inside the Figge at the top of the stairway leading to the second-floor galleries. LeWitt claimed this new drawing is not a re-creation but is still the original artwork. He regarded his wall drawings as impermanent and repeatable. And his work is intentionally unemotional.

 
Art in Plain Sight: The Black Hawk Statue PDF Print E-mail
Art - Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Tuesday, 09 November 2010 08:32

(Editor’s note: This is the first in an occasional series on the history of public art in the Quad Cities.)

Photo by Bruce WaltersStanding on a ridge overlooking the Rock River, an 18-ton granite statue of Black Hawk dominates the space before the Watch Tower Lodge at the Black Hawk State Historic Site (1510 46th Avenue in Rock Island). This is near the location of the Native American village Saukenuk, the largest settlement in Illinois when it became a state in 1818. The statue’s commanding presence tells us that this was a man of great importance.

 
The October Country: Bruce Walters’ “Halloween Flight” and “Vultus” PDF Print E-mail
Art - Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 21 October 2010 07:32

'Halloween Flight'

It is with a laugh that Bruce Walters says, “There’s no lightness in me.”

Walters, a professor of art at Western Illinois University, was at Quad City Arts discussing Halloween Flight, an imposing collection comprising five distinct bodies of work employing autumnal motifs: a story of drawings from which the exhibit draws its name; selections from his Changelings series of drawings of masked people; a pair of lenticular prints (which create the illusion of motion based on the viewer’s changing perspective); 15-foot-tall banner paintings under the title Sentries; and the Vultus projected video of 100 mask photographs.

His next project? A series based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Walters might claim that he’s obsessed with the dark imagery associated with Halloween – with its origins in the change of seasons from summer to fall, the ancient belief that spirits could enter the world of the living during this transitional period, and fall celebrations of the dead.

'Changelings'

Yet one only needs to look at the variety of themes invoked in the work to see that Walters is more interested in exploring the fullness of the holiday than one particular aspect of it, and that it’s not all darkness. The Halloween Flight story is simple, nostalgic, and quaint – Walters called it “idyllic” – using a child’s vocabulary of motifs (a black cat, the moon, a graveyard, a ghost, trick-or-treaters) in evocative, lovingly detailed drawings. At the other end of the spectrum is Vultus, quietly sinister in its sequence of stark, high-contrast photos of masks, disturbing in both its vividness and inscrutable blankness. (In addition to being shown inside Quad City Arts for this exhibit – which runs through November 19 – Vultus will be projected outdoors at the Figge, Quad City Arts, and three other locations over the next few weeks.)

 
Augustana Hosts Native American Artists PDF Print E-mail
Art - Feature Stories
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 09 September 2010 19:13

Kathleen Wall

On Wednesday, September 15, and Thursday, September 16, Augustana College will host five of the Native American artists represented in the Olson-Brandelle North American Indian Art Collection, which through October 30 is on display at the Augusta College Art Museum.

“Never before have we brought in five major visual artists at one time,” promotional materials for the events state. “The convocation will be an unusual interactive experience – not a lecture you sit for – as groups tour around to see each artist in action. We haven’t ever tried an event like this one, and it promises some memorable experiences, including a grand drum and dance finale.”

The events are:

Panel Discussion with Artists Represented in the Olson-Brandelle North American Indian Art Collection

Wednesday, September 15, 7:30 p.m., Larson Hall, followed by reception in the Augustana College Art Museum

Participating artists will be: D. Y. Begay, Navajo weaver; Robert Tenorio, Santo Domingo potter; Kathleen Wall, Jemez figurative potter; Richard Zane Smith, Wyandot potter; and Sally Black, Navajo basket maker.

First Connections: An Arts Festival with Artists Demonstrating their Work

Thursday, September 16, 10:30 a.m. to noon, Centennial Hall Convocation

All five artists will participate, along with Navajo basket maker Agnes Gray. The Brown Otter Singers Song & Dance Group (Meskwaki) will provide a finale for this event in Centennial Hall at 11:30 a.m.

A press release for the exhibit follows.

 
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